HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – As thousands of Pennsylvanians continue to wait for unemployment compensation, a hearing was held Tuesday to address these delays.
Rep. Kate Klunk (R-Hanover) who filed right to know requests, to get answers from the Department of Labor and Industry said the hearing went well, and she thinks there will be progress moving forward.
Jerry Oleksiak, the Secretary of the State Department of Labor and Industry, went before the House Labor and Industry Committee, to talk about the unemployment compensation system. According to Oleksiak, since the beginning of the pandemic, 3% of Pennsylvanians still have not been paid their benefits.
“Representative Pam Snyder, she shared a story about an individual who’s been waiting for months who has threatened to potentially harm themselves, so these stories are absolutely gut wrenching and heartbreaking,” said Rep. Klunk.
Rep. Klunk has filed right to know requests, which the Department of Labor and Industry has until the first week of November to respond to.
“My questions really get to what did we do to prepare for this, what questions were being answered, what coordination was happening,” said Rep. Klunk.
Rep. Klunk is hopeful after Tuesday’s hearing.
“Thankfully their response was positive. The Secretary was interested in fully complying with those right to know requests, which is encouraging because in the past it’s been hard to get information out of the department,” said Rep. Klunk.
“At the hearing we talked about some of the things we’ve been doing, some that I’ve shared with you. We’ve more than doubled our staff at the UC service center going up to 2,000 people now,” said Oleksiak.
The department also said it’s made significant information technology investments.
“The department did say today that they are happy to sit down with our staff to try and come up with a better system,” said Rep. Klunk.